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Advancing Healthcare Marketing Through Competitive Intel

On this week’s episode of “We Are, Marketing Happy,” our CEO & Founder, Jenny Bristow, speaks on a topic that’s been brought to light on a lot of our calls with clients and prospects recently – competitive insights. With the new fiscal year creeping around the corner for many, it’s crunch time to deep dive into competitive intelligence. We’re talking about more than just keeping pace; understanding your competitors’ approach to marketing helps you fine-tune yours. Tune in for actionable insights on how to tackle this item on your to-do list!

Highlights from Today’s Episode:

[00:45] – The Critical Need for Competitive Insights – We discuss why understanding the market through competitive insights is not just beneficial but essential for healthcare organizations looking to fine-tune their strategies effectively.

[02:00] – Choosing Your Competitors Wisely – Jenny guides us through the strategic process of selecting competitors for analysis, emphasizing the importance of including local and leading digital-first players to ensure a well-rounded perspective.

[03:15] – Decoding Competitors’ Marketing Tactics – Explore the various tools and methodologies to analyze the marketing efforts of your competitors, from ad placements to content strategies, using platforms like Wappalyzer and SEMrush.

[05:00] – Understanding Digital Priorities – Learn how to dissect and understand the digital focus areas of your competitors, which can reveal a lot about their strategic priorities and budget allocations.

[06:30] – Navigating Access to Care and User Experience – Jenny sheds light on evaluating competitors’ tools and user experiences, emphasizing how these components can significantly impact patient access and care journey.

[07:45] – Unpacking the Marketing Tech Stack – Discover the importance of understanding the technological tools and platforms your competitors are using, which can offer insights into their marketing prowess and capabilities.

[09:00] – Assessing Reputation Management and Industry Promotion – We conclude with a look at the value of understanding how competitors manage their reputations and promote themselves within the industry, which can provide clues to their focus areas and strategic initiatives.

Links & Resources

Tools for competitive analysis mentioned: Wappalyzer, SEMrush, BuiltWith

Learn More about Hedy & Hopp’s Competitive Intel Program

Book Time With Jenny

Connect with Jenny on LinkedIn

Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends, welcome to today’s episode of We Are Marketing Happy, a healthcare marketing podcast. I am your host, Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and founder of Hedy & Hopp, a full-service, fully healthcare marketing agency. We work with providers and payers all across the country to help improve patient’s access to care.

Today, we are going to talk about a topic that we have received multiple calls about over the last few weeks. Some people are just starting to begin thinking about this. Others are wondering what’s even possible. We’re going to be talking about competitive insights. So, this is one of those marketing projects and processes, depending on where you are in your organizational sophistication, that sometimes is put on the back burner for a year or more.

The best organizations are doing competitive insight regularly, whether that’s a monthly cadence, quarterly cadence, whatever. It’s important to understand what’s happening in the market so you can [00:01:00] pivot your marketing correctly, whether it’s tactics, messaging, budget, et cetera. But a lot of organizations that are reaching out to us right now have not really prioritized on this since COVID.

And I get it. Like a lot of stuff has happened since then, friends. And a lot of these marketing teams are just now kind of realigning and getting back to, a comfortable place so they can start thinking about growth. But, a lot of people are asking about this because they’re going into the new fiscal planning.

A lot of folks have a new fiscal starting July 1st. Many people are having to start turning in budgets. And a lot of people are really saying, you know, “Maybe we want to do some competitive insights before the new fiscal to help guide that, or maybe just incorporate it into our new fiscal as a thing that we begin doing on a regular cadence.”

And so, today I wanted to talk about if you’re thinking about competitive Intel, or if you’re not, maybe you should be so, you’re, you’re welcome. I appreciate you. We’re going to talk about five key areas that you want to begin [00:02:00] thinking about. 

So, first of all, before we get into the five areas, let’s talk a little bit about selecting which competitors you’re paying attention to because one of the top things that I see people doing wrong is only looking at people in their own back door and looking at people who geographically, a patient or a customer could choose from, but at this point, and with this market, and the way health care is today, you have to also start thinking about who else is truly in your market mix as far as somebody that a customer could choose to go with.

So, for example, if you are a provider group maybe One Medical, Amazon’s offering, is a competitor to you now, maybe you need to start looking at them and understanding how they compete with you and specifically in what areas they compete with you. So, the one thing I’d recommend is picking out at minimum three competitors.

More is better, but each one takes a lot of time. So, starting with a minimum of three, one to two in your own backyard. And then at least one [00:03:00] nationwide digital first. Competitor, if that is something that your particular sub-segment of the industry has to think about or compete with. So let’s get into the five.

There are five key questions that are really helpful to be able to answer about your competitors. The first one is: “What tactics are being leveraged by their marketing team?” So, the really neat thing about marketing online the way that we are in 2024, is there are a lot of tools that allow you to scrape the web and understand where your competitors are placing ads. What kind of content they’re creating? Where they’re placing it paid media insights. How much are they spending? What platforms are they spending money on? Are they using video? If so, how are they utilizing video, and what’s their video strategy? 

So understanding what tactics are being leveraged by their marketing team is really helpful because it can point out areas where they may be reaching those patients or customers where you aren’t. So for example, often we see people really excited to think about patient [00:04:00] acquisition campaigns using Google, maybe they’re not thinking so much about Bing, right?

Like this is a really basic example. But, a lot of older people use Bing. So depending on your demographic of your typical customer or decision maker for the care or healthcare purchasing decision being may end up being just as valuable to you as a Google ad placement and maybe that’s something that you see a competitor is doing that you’re not. So, the bottom line is really spending time using online tools that are available to you. Some of them have really small monthly subscriptions. Some of them are free. There are tools like Wappalyzer or Builtwith that allow you to see what tags are placed on people’s websites and that often give you clues about the kinds of campaigns that they’re running.

Highly recommend you do that as a first step for any competitors you’re looking into. And then you can use tools like SEMRush. There’s tons of them out there to help you understand from a paid media and organic perspective where they’re focusing their energy. So again, understanding [00:05:00] what tactics their marketing team is leveraging is the first question you want to ask and understand.

Number two is what are the digital priorities they’re focusing on? So, the two ways we like to break this up are service lines or business units. Like where are they spending their money? If they are, let’s say a children’s hospital and they’re only promoting three service lines that really tells you a lot about their budget, perhaps, but also the prioritization is an organization.

So it’s really helpful as you’re doing that first analysis of tactics to weave in the purview of understanding messaging targeting around service lines. Things that you want to understand are their focus areas for service lines through, uh, activity, budget, and content frequency. Again, maybe they’re geographically in your back door, but if they’re not even promoting the things that are your priority service lines, then it’s important to know that they’re there, but maybe you keep an eye on them, but kind of look at another competitor that maybe is pushing harder to gain market share.

The second one under [00:06:00] is organic content trends. So what kind of content are they creating for their service lines? Sometimes perhaps they don’t have the budget or they’re choosing this as a tactic. Maybe they aren’t doing a lot of paid media to push a service line forward, but maybe they have a content strategy like a podcast or a video series around a service line and that may be driving lots of engagements and organic growth within that service line and the traffic that they’re bringing in. So, again, understanding the big picture number two is what digital priorities are they focusing on with service lines and organic content trends underneath.

Number three. access to care or user journey experience. What’s in their tool set? Let’s say I again, one that I’m going to keep using that same example. Let’s say I need to go to a children’s hospital and I need to find out a doctor and or schedule an appointment. What tools are they using? How easy is it? How integrated is it into the service line pages of the website? Do a little work researching a specific condition treatment or provider and see how [00:07:00] easy it is to get where you need to go.

They may have a user flow or some UX that they’ve integrated that’s really making it amazing for the person finding and scheduling care to be able to find what they need quickly. So, it’s really important that could absolutely shift market share if you’re not aware that they’re implementing and testing something like that.

Number four is their marketing tech stack. So. Again, I mentioned Wappalyzer, but there’s also lots of tools that allow you for free to be able to look at the code of your competitors’ websites. Why does that matter? Well, it matters because you can see what marketing tools they’re using. Are they a Salesforce Marketing Cloud organization?

What website analytics tools are they using? Do they have their own app that they’ve built that allows scheduling functionality that perhaps can make it easier for somebody to find or schedule care? Do they have some other CRM or marketing automation that they’ve implemented to be able to guide people through the process?

[00:08:00] Marketing budgets, strategies, and executions are not just in driving traffic, but it’s also optimizing the journey once they get there. So, understanding that access to care patient journey experience, as well as what tools they’re using. Super important, and really helpful to give you that North Star of where you may be falling behind.

And then the fifth one, this one’s my favorite because what people say about themselves publicly is where they’re focused. They’re not going to be promoting or going and talking about a service line or a campaign or something that isn’t an organizational priority. So, the fifth and last one is reputation management and industry promotion. 

So, the first one is external looking in. What are patients or customers saying about this organization? What does it look like they’re doing from a review solicitation perspective? Does it seem like they’re using like a Press Ganey or to be able to solicit reviews? And if so, like, what volume and velocity are they doing for those reviews? 

But the second component of that is, are they [00:09:00] going and speaking at industry conferences? If so, what topics are they speaking about? Are they doing it with a co-presenter? If so, who is that co-presenter? Maybe a technology they’re partnering with or an agency that’s driving a lot of success for them.

So that’s, again, just helpful to understand where they’re thinking and prioritizing things as a marketing organization. To help you make better guesses and understand what may be coming next for them. 

So again, the five things you should be thinking about if you’re running a competitive Intel program is what tactics are being leveraged by their marketing team, number one.

Number two, what digital priorities are they focusing on? Number three, their access to care, their user journey experience, what’s it look like? Number four, their marketing tech stack, and number five reputation management industry promotion. These are all things that can help you really understand where your competitors are.

And again, it’s not that you want to copy them. We’re not out here copying people, but you want to understand and not be surprised if somebody suddenly gains market [00:10:00] share or jumps ahead of you or, you know, Whatever, you know, they continue succeeding. If you’re falling behind, you need to be able to better plan and prepare in order to go into the upcoming fiscal.

I am very excited to say that Hedy & Hopp’s actually launching some one-time programs around competitive Intel. So, if you are interested in learning more about what it looks like, we’re actually going to be linking to it in the show notes. So, if you want to learn more about what it would cost to have an agency like mine lean in and do this competitive intel for you with all of our technical expertise and subscriptions to back-end programs and tools, uh, give us a shout. We will put a link in the show notes that will allow you to schedule a Zoom with me and we can chat more about what you are interested in learning your budget and your timeline. We’d love to work with you.

So again, thank you for tuning in today to this week’s episode of “We Are, Marketing Happy.” Please, please, please [00:11:00] subscribe. Please give us a rating on whatever platform you are listening in on. And if you have any content suggestions, shoot them to us. We’d love to create content based off of your feedback.

That’s it for today. See you on a future episode of “We Are, Marketing Happy.”



About the Author

The Hedy & Hopp digital production team is the glue that keeps all activation work running. From auditing websites and tagging, to content strategy and CRM implementation, our digital production unicorns ensure the tiniest detail is reviewed and accurate before it gets to our clients. Their determination in finding solutions for any challenge makes this team marketing happy.

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